“My daddy would tell us don’ be afraid nobody’s gonna hurt you as long as I’m living.” Mrs. Recy Taylor, a 24-year-old black married sharecropper with a baby daughter, was living in Alabama, when she was abducted while on her way home from church in 1944 by seven white local youths with a gun. They loaded her into a car, drove her to a secluded place in the woods, ordered her to strip, and then six of them took turns raping her. They released her four or five hours later that night, warning her that there would be consequences if she reported the incident.
Common in Jim Crow South, few women spoke up in fear for their lives. Not Recy Taylor, unbroken, she spoke up and bravely identified her rapists. The NAACP sent its chief rape investigator Rosa Parks, who rallied support and triggered an unprecedented outcry for justice. Written and directed by Nancy Buirski ‘The Rape of Recy Taylor’ exposes a legacy of physical abuse of black women and reveals Rosa Parks’ intimate role in Recy Taylor’s story. An attempted rape against Parks was but one inspiration for her ongoing work to find justice for countless women like Taylor. The 1955 bus boycott was an end result, not a beginning.
Inspired by At the dark end of the Street | Black Women, Rape and Resistance — a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, by Danielle L. McGuire, the harrowing events are recounted with hurt and indignation that remain raw more than 70 years later by the victim’s sister, Alma Daniels, and younger brother, Robert Corbett, who was practically raised by Recy after their mother died young.
“He loved his family to death I believe that’s the reason he didn’t do anything to try and get revenge against those boys because he felt that he had to stay alive to protect the girls. One day we went fishing and he told me I could have got 5 of those guys at one night. I said what guys.” “He said those guys that raped my daughter.” While there was no record of the Taylors ever having been in trouble with the police, early reports falsely identified Recy as a prostitute. As a result of the gang rape being reported, the family’s home was firebombed and Recy’s father slept in a tree out front with a loaded rifle, to guard against further repercussions.
The legacy of slavery remained so ingrained in the South that many white boys were taught by their fathers and grandfathers to view sex with a black woman as a rite-of-passage, consensual or not. According to the plantation attitude, black women’s bodies did not entirely belong to them. The numbers of women raped in Jim Crow South were staggering. In danger for their lives, they did not report the crimes and their stories went hidden. ‘The Rape of Recy Taylor’ will premiere at the Venice International Film Festival Aug 30, 2017 – Sep 9, 2017 and the New York Film Festival Sep 28, 2017 – Oct 15, 2017. The documentary is slated to be released October 1, 2017.
Source: YouTube, https://www.therapeofrecytaylor.com/, Facebook, IMDb